Executive Director's Message - 6 October 2020


​Executive Director's message

GREETINGS as this final term of 2020 commences, with a welcome short week! I do hope that you enjoyed the September break. ​​​Last Thursday, I joined with other members of our BCE​ Leadership Team, to attend the Student Voice Festival of Ideas at the State Library. We joined the group of enthusiastic students for a few hours at the end of the day to listen to their reflections on the five topics they had identified - Student Voice, Learning, Belonging, Mental Health and Safety. These young people demonstrated their depth of awareness of these issues and their impact on them and their learning and experience at school. They honestly expressed their insights and offered realistic strategies to address the challenges and realise the opportunities presented. We were inspired by their courage, conviction, passion and compassion in articulating their experience as students in our Catholic secondary and P-12 Colleges. My thanks to all those who are part of our BCE Student Voice initiative and to the staff from our schools and the office who assisted with the organisation and attended last Thursday's gathering. 

Cathcing up with students at this year's Student Voice Festival of Ideas

Term 4 is typically busy with Year 12's graduating, deadlines around assessment and reporting, planning for the next school year and a host of other activities that define the busyness of life in schools as the year draws to a close. In 2020, Term 4 will mark the first time our senior students will undertake external assessments under the new senior secondary curriculum and assessment regime. We wish them all the very best and hold these students and their teachers in our prayers, along with all our senior students who will complete their schooling in the challenging context that 2020 presented. 

This term, as the COVID-19 restrictions ease, we will mark the official opening and blessing of St Ann's School, Redbank Plains. With Archbishop Mark Coleridge, I will look forward to joining Principal, Sonny Smith, and the students, staff and parents for this celebration. 

Bishop Ken Howell and I will visit the sites of our two new schools to open in 2021 – Sophia College, Plainland and San Damiano College, Yarrabilba – later this month for Bishop Ken to bless the sites where these two colleges will welcome students in the new school year. Our thanks to Narelle Dobson, Principal at Sophia College and Peter Edwards, Principal at San Damiano College, and the foundation staff for their work during these formative months of these new colleges. 

This Friday, I am looking forward to joining Principal Michael Laidler and the community at Assisi College, Coomera, for the blessing and opening of their newest buildings named Bishop Guido, Sostengo and Umbria – names prominent in the story of St Francis and St Clare. This celebration for Assisi College is timely as Sunday, October 1, marked the feast day of St Francis of Assisi. On the vigil of this feast day Pope Francis travelled to Assisi to celebrate Mass at the altar over the Tomb of St Francis. At the end of Mass Pope Francis signed the third encyclical of his Pontificate – Fratelli Tutti - On Fraternity and Social Friendship

On the Feast Day of St Francis on Sunday, during the Angelus he celebrated with those gathered in St Peter's Square, he released the encyclical to the public, saying: “I offer this social encyclical as a modest contribution to continued reflection, in the hope that in the face of present-day attempts to eliminate or ignore others, we may prove capable of responding with a new vision of fraternity and social friendship." #FratelliTutti 

In the opening paragraphs of Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis states: 

  1. “FRATELLI TUTTI".[1] With these words, Saint Francis of Assisi addressed his brothers and sisters and proposed to them a way of life marked by the flavour of the Gospel. Of the counsels Francis offered, I would like to select the one in which he calls for a love that transcends the barriers of geography and distance, and declares blessed all those who love their brother “as much when he is far away from him as when he is with him".[2] In his simple and direct way, Saint Francis expressed the essence of a fraternal openness that allows us to acknowledge, appreciate and love each person, regardless of physical proximity, regardless of where he or she was born or lives.
  2. This saint of fraternal love, simplicity and joy, who inspired me to write the Encyclical Laudato Si', prompts me once more to devote this new Encyclical to fraternity and social friendship. Francis felt himself a brother to the sun, the sea and the wind, yet he knew that he was even closer to those of his own flesh. Wherever he went, he sowed seeds of peace and walked alongside the poor, the abandoned, the infirm and the outcast, the least of his brothers and sisters. 

I commend the document to you. The Encyclical concludes with two prayers – A Prayer to the Creator and An Ecumenical Christian Prayer. I share with you the Prayer to the Creator. 

As the COVID-19 restrictions ease, I will continue to pray that you and your families will remain safe and well. Please continue to heed the advice of our health officials as they continue to maintain as a priority the health and well-being of all in our community. 

Thank you for all you have done during this most extraordinary year. 

Wishing you every blessing as Term 4 commences. 



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